The Asian Monsoon, the tropospheric biennial oscillation, and the Indian Ocean zonal mode in the NCAR CSM

Johannes Loschnigg, Gerald A. Meehl, Peter J. Webster, Julie M. Arblaster, Gilbert P. Compo

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Abstract

The interaction of the Indian Ocean dynamics and the tropospheric biennial oscillation (TBO) is analyzed in the 300-yr control run of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Climate System Model (CSM). Sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies and equatorial ocean dynamics in the Indian Ocean are associated with the TBO and interannual variability of Asian-Australian monsoons in observations. The air-sea interactions involved in these processes in the coupled ocean-atmosphere model are analyzed, so as to diagnose the causes of the SST anomalies and their role in the development of a biennial cycle in the Indian-Pacific Ocean region. By using singular value decomposition (SVD) analysis, it is found that the model reproduces the dominant mechanisms that are involved in the development of the TBO's influence on the south Asian monsoon: large-scale forcing from the tropical Pacific and regional forcing associated with both the meridional temperature gradient between the Asian continent and the Indian Ocean, as well as Indian Ocean SST anomalies. Using cumulative anomaly pattern correlation, the strength of each of these processes in affecting the interannual variability of both Asian and Australian monsoon rainfall is assessed. In analyzing the role of the Indian Ocean dynamics in the TBO, it is found that the Indian Ocean zonal mode (IOZM) is an inherent feature of the Asian summer monsoon and the TBO. The IOZM is thus a part of the biennial nature of the Indian-Pacific Ocean region. The coupled ocean-atmosphere dynamics and cross-equatorial heat transport contribute to the interannual variability and biennial nature of the ENSO-monsoon system, by affecting the heat content of the Indian Ocean and resulting SST anomalies over multiple seasons, which is a key factor in the TBO.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1617-1642
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume16
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes

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